Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Goods, Services Getting Cheaper; Jacksonville, National Prices Drop, but Consumers Still Cutting Back

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Goods, Services Getting Cheaper; Jacksonville, National Prices Drop, but Consumers Still Cutting Back

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BASCH

There is a bright side to a recession: It brings prices down for consumer goods and services.

The University of North Florida's Local Economic Indicators Project said Wednesday its Consumer Price Index for the Jacksonville area fell in October for the second straight month. And the U.S. Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index, the nation's most closely-watched inflation gauge, fell by the most in more than 60 years.

The national CPI fell by a seasonally-adjusted 1 percent in October, the largest one-month decrease since the Labor Department began publishing seasonally-adjusted data in February 1947.

Dropping gasoline prices were a big factor in the decline. But the price cuts went deeper than that. The Labor Department said its CPI excluding food and energy prices - commonly referred to as the "core" CPI - fell by 0.1 percent. That's the first monthly decline in the core index since December 1982, according to The Associated Press.

The drop in core prices last month included a 1 percent fall in the apparel index, a 4.8 percent drop in airline fares, a 1.6 percent decline in lodging away from home and a 0.7 percent decline in the index for new and used motor vehicles.

The Jacksonville CPI, which fell by a seasonally-adjusted 0.39 points to 108.48, produced similar results, LEIP reported. Gasoline prices plunged by 16.2 percent last month, but other large declines came in infant and toddler apparel (down 13.5 percent), used cars (13 percent), alcoholic beverages (9.1 percent), water, sewer and trash rates (9.1 percent), new cars (8.6 percent) and boy's and men's apparel (7.5 percent).

One key difference between the local and national data was that almost all food price categories fell in the Jacksonville area. …

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